Monday, 30 April 2012

Symbio Wildlife Park

To complement our studies of Australian animals we took a trip to Symbio Wildlife Park. Here we saw lots of Australian animals and we had the chance to hand feed the kangaroos.

Lace Monitors



Albino echidna

Tawny Frogmouth



Checking out how the tail feels

Kangaroo encounter


Tasmanian Devil

Just down the road is Sri Venkateswara Hindu temple. We took a quick look around before heading home.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Chinese Pottery

A few weeks ago we made these Ancient Chinese Bowls. The clay finally dried enough for us paint them this week.

We got a good bowl shape by covering a dish with cling-film and then rolling out a slab of clay and moulding it around  the dish. We cut off excess with a clay tool. Once the bowls were semi-dry we popped them off the dish.

Roll a slab of clay

Mould it around the dish

Finished bowl by L

Bowl  with river and lake scene by R

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Introduction to Aboriginal Art

Today we tried out a few techniques from Aboriginal art. First we looked at some art works and picked out the main themes we saw in them - lots of dots, wavy lines, and circles. The children used a reference book to identify and find the meaning of some Aboriginal symbols. We used our hand-prints along with symbols of waterholes, camps, rivers, animal tracks and sand hills. We worked with acrylic paints, brushes and round sticks.

By R

By L

Next we will be making maps and telling stories with Aboriginal art. Watch this space.

Moth Life Cycle

Today we have been learning about insect life cycles. I had a model making experiment from Mr. Q that I actually thought was a bit rubbish, but we did it anyway and it was pretty effective and the kids loved it!

You'll need 5 strips of paper and some glue sticks.

First make 4  moth's eggs.

Model moth's eggs

Next transform the eggs into a caterpillar with the addition of another strip of paper.

L makes her caterpillar crawl along

Next enclose the caterpillar in its cocoon by wrapping it around itself.

Model cocoon

Then (quick before the glue dries solid), unwrap the cocoon and turn it inside out and your moth is born!

Adult moth models

Monday, 23 April 2012

Ancient African Feast

Today we were learning about ancient Africa so for dinner we cooked an ancient African feast. We enjoyed chicken with roasted figs, mango fried rice, sweet potatoes and date & banana slices. The children made it all with a little bit of assistance, and even ate it all as well!

The recipes are in the "Story of the World Activity Book" by Susan Wise Bauer.

Chicken with roasted figs

Mango stir fry rice

Date and banana slices

The children also painted their hands as part of the feast celebration.

R's hands with African celebration decorations

L's hands with African celebration decorations

Friday, 20 April 2012

Convicts On Bare Island

Bare Island Fort

Today we joined some friends at Botany Bay National Park for a ranger led activity morning on Bare Island. We played the role of convicts sent from England to live in Australia. We were tried for our crimes and sentenced to 7 years hard labour in Australia. However at the end of the voyage we escaped from the guards and fled into the bush. Luckily the Aboriginal tribes people taught us a few survival skills. Eventually our 7 years were up and we were free men again.

Kids in convict attire

The Judge

Aboriginal man

Bare island from the beach.

It's Not All Hard Work You Know!

A while ago we took some time out from "school" work and took a trip to Sydney's Luna Park.  I've just rediscovered the photos.

On the ferry to Luna Park

The entrance

R and Dad on the big wheel

L on the carousel

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Investigating Silk

As a follow up for our trip to see the Travelling The Silk Road exhibition at the National Museum of Australia we had some hands on investigation. I just happened to have some silk moth cocoons and various bi-products of the silk making process on hand in my art stash. We also tried out silk painting.

Silk materials to investigate

Feeling silk fibres

Drawing onto silk fabric with outliner

Silk painting by R

Silk painting by L


I quizzed the children about what they would like to add to our learning program this term. R asked for taking things apart to see how they work and electronics. So with that in mind we bought this electronics kit from Heebie Jeebies. The children have had fun experimenting.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Aboriginal Book Pages

Today we finished off our book pages for our collaborative dream-time story book. We can't wait to see what our friends have come up with.

The tribe around the camp-fire - By L

The rock cod teaching the tribe about the constellations - By R

Friday, 13 April 2012

Aboriginal Adventure

This week we joined some of our friends from Home-Education Penrith for 3 days of Aboriginal culture and adventure. Firstly we visited the Australian Museum in Sydney to see Yiwarra Kuju: The Canning Stock Route. This exhibition shows many colourful pictures painted by Aboriginal Tribes people in Western Australia. Here are a few of our favourite images. 

We also coordinated our visit to coincide with an Aboriginal dance and music performance. We saw many dances, most of them featuring native Australian wildlife. 

We also had a look at some Aboriginal artefacts, and animal specimens in the museum's permanent galleries. 

Aboriginal fire making tool. 

On day 2 we set up camp at Bents Basin State Conservation Area for 2 days of hands on learning about Aboriginal life and culture. The program was kindly developed and presented by 2 of our home school mums. 

As you can see from the picture below our "tribe" was not short of water at this location, so the next priority was to make a bush shelter. 

Mums and kids at Bents Basin

Branches are stripped of leaves to make ties

Tying the poles in position

L holds the structure whilst the older boys tie the knots

Adding leaves and branches for protection against weather

With our shelter built we set about hunting for food.

To make the hunting easier we made emu callers which we painted. We also decorated our clap sticks ready for the evening celebrations.

Painting emu callers and clap sticks

Next it was time to get the fire going to cook the food.

Then the children helped prepare the meat and vegetables for the evening meal.

R learns to de-scale a fish

Kangaroo meat was cooked on hot rocks from the fire
Emu and crocodile

We enjoyed a feast of roasted yams, crocodile, emu, ostrich and chicken. The children then put on their Aboriginal face paints. 

After dinner the children enjoyed sitting around the fire listening to dream-time stories. We also did some star gazing and learnt some Aboriginal stories associated with the constellations

Fire with the addition of rainbow chemicals.

On day 3 we began with a short hike to a cave site where we had more stories from the Aboriginal dream-time.

After lunch we worked as a group to come up with our own dream-time story about Bents Basin and the things we had learnt at camp. The children will be completing their pages at home before it is bound into a book. Watch this space for more on that. 

For afternoon tea the children made damper and cooked it on sticks over the camp fire.

All in all a fantastic 3 days, so many thanks to our friends who organised it for us.